Iran’s state media have given blanket coverage to an ominous statement announcing that the victims of the 1988 massacre “should have been executed 10 times over.”
On 26 January 2021, the state-run Mashregh News website, affiliated to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), carried the headline: “They should have been executed 10 times over.”
The news agency quoted an unidentified social media user who had posted a tweet about the 1988 massacre, claiming that the political prisoners who had been executed in 1988 had planned to kill kids affiliated to the paramilitary Basij in their sleep and thus deserved to be executed multiple times.
That tweet had been posted on 25 January 2021 by a social media user, with the username Alireza Geraie and with a vague bio and photograph. While Twitter is banned for ordinary users in Iran, the @AliReza9119 account is clearly associated with government supporters and often tweets in support of the most hard-line elements of the clerical establishment.
In addition to Mashregh News, numerous other state media organisations ran almost identical headlines, stating that the victims of the 1988 massacre should have each been executed 10 times, using the same tweet as the source of their reports.
Those news organisations include Mardom News, Jahat Press, IUS News, Halgheye Vasl News Agency, 19 Aban News Agency, and Ehavadar (‘Payegah Khabari Hamiyan Velayat,’ or News Agency of Supporters of Religious Rule).
Below are screengrabs from a number of the state media websites that ran the threatening headlines.
In 1988, the government of Iran massacred 30,000 political prisoners. The executions took place based on a fatwa by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini. Three-member commissions known as ‘Death Commissions’ were formed across Iran sending political prisoners who refused to abandon their beliefs to execution. The victims were buried in secret mass graves. The perpetrators were never charged; to the contrary, they were appointed to more senior positions in the Iranian government and Judiciary. They include the current Judiciary Chief and Justice Minister of Iran.
Iranian officials and state media continue to defend the 1988 massacre and threaten those who demand accountability and justice.
Seven United Nations human rights experts in December 2020 stated that the 1988 massacre “may amount to crimes against humanity.”
Justice for the Victims of the 1988 Massacre in Iran (JVMI) is appealing for the establishment of a UN Commission of Inquiry to put an end to the impunity enjoyed by the Death Commission members and to hold them accountable for their role in this ongoing crime against humanity.
Source of original tweet by user @AliReza9119: https://twitter.com/AliReza9119/status/1353605237928566784